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Thomas Gray Manuscripts

Integrated Finding Aid
prepared by
Alexander Huber

first published in
the Thomas Gray Archive in 2006

(current revision: 05 Sep 2013)

Contact: Alexander Huber

Collection Summary

  • EAD ID: grayt.ead.0001
  • Title: Thomas Gray Manuscripts: An Integrated Finding Aid
  • Dates [of autographs]: [ca. 1725]-1771
  • Creator: Thomas Gray (1716-1771) et al.
  • Physical Description: manuscripts, letters
  • Language: English (bulk), Latin, Greek, French
  • Repository: Thomas Gray Archive, Oxford, UK
  • Abstract: An integrated finding aid to all known Thomas Gray manuscripts, autograph or transcript (by contemporaries and early editors), currently listing Gray's poetry manuscripts only. Catalogued in EAD 2002 by Alexander Huber and first published by The Thomas Gray Archive in 2006. This finding aid is work-in-progress: when completed, it will contain all known Thomas Gray manuscripts, including his prose works, personal papers, and marginalia. The finding aid will also be continually enhanced as original materials are made available to the Archive and digital surrogates are being created.

Biographical Information

Thomas Gray was born in London in 1716 and died in Cambridge in 1771. He was a poet, letter-writer, scholar, critic, and avid reader and commentator, whose published output during his lifetime remained slim, yet who left behind a large and varied manuscript output. See the Archive's biographical sketch or chronology of Thomas Gray for more information.

Scope and Content

Thomas Gray Manuscripts: An Integrated Finding Aid lists all of Gray's identified autograph poetry manuscripts as well as transcripts in the hands of his contemporaries and early editors of his works. Each of the 290 manuscript entries provides basic bibliographic and archival information, including a physical description wherever possible. Where available, the records contain links to digital surrogates of both the original manuscripts and the first printed edition of the work. This guide builds on a number of print and online information sources, among which the ones listed in the bibliography have been particularly helpful and are herewith duly acknowledged. This finding aid is work-in-progress: when completed, it will contain all known Thomas Gray manuscripts, including his prose works, personal papers, and marginalia.


Following the example in contemporary indices and location registers of MSS, Thomas Gray Manuscripts is arranged alphabetically by uniform titles of works, as found in the Primary Texts section of Thomas Gray Archive. The individual manuscript witnesses are listed chronologically. However, autograph MSS are always listed before transcripts. Please note that works for which no known MS copy exists, have not been included.


  • Crum, Margaret (ed.): First-Line Index of English Poetry 1500-1800 in Manuscripts of the Bodleian Library Oxford, 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969
  • Jones, William Powell: Thomas Gray, Scholar. The true tragedy of an eighteenth-century gentleman. With two youthful notebooks now published for the first time from the original manuscripts in the Morgan library, New York City. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1937
  • Jones, William Powell: "Thomas Gray's Library". Modern Philology 35(3) (Feb. 1938), 257-278
  • Poetic Commonplace Books and Manuscripts of Thomas Gray, 1716-1771, from Pembroke College, Cambridge. Listing and guide to the microfilm collection. Published by the University of Cambridge, Pembroke College. Reading: Adam Matthew Publications, 1991 [2nd ed. 1999]
  • Munby, A. N. L.: "Thomas Gray". A. N. L. Munby (ed.), Sale Catalogues of Libraries of Eminent Persons, Volume 2: Poets and Men of Letters. London: Mansell; Sotheby Parke-Bernet Publications, 1971, 1-82
  • National Register of Archives: "Gray, Thomas (1716-1771), poet". The National Archives. 04 May 2010. <>
  • Nelson, Carolyn W. (ed.): Union First Line Index of Manuscript Poetry 13th-19th Century (bulk 1500-1800). Dec. 2012. Folger Shakespeare Library. 15 February 2013. <>
  • Smith, Margaret M.: "Thomas Gray: 1716-1771". Margaret M. Smith (ed.), Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume III: 1700-1800, part 2: John Gay - Ambrose Philips. London and New York: Mansell, 1989, 71-116
  • Sutton, David C. (ed.): Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Volume I: A-J. London: The British Library, 1995, 413-415

Administrative Information

  • About the Originals: In this finding aid, the Archive provides collection-level description and location information for Thomas Gray MSS. More information about the original manuscripts themselves is available from the holding repositories, contact information of which can be found with each manuscript entry.
  • Restrictions: Please consult with the repository holding the original manuscript using the contact information provided with each of the manuscript records.
  • Preferred Citation: To identify this finding aid as a source, please use this example (MLA Style):
    Huber, Alexander. "Thomas Gray Manuscripts: An Integrated Finding Aid". Thomas Gray Archive. Ed. Alexander Huber. Thomas Gray Archive, 05 Sep 2013. Web. 12 Jun 2024. <>.

Controlled Access Terms

  • Personal Names (LCNAF) :
    Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771
  • Subjects (LCSH) :
    Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771--Manuscripts
    Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771--Diaries
    Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771--Correspondence
    Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771--Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
    Poets, English--18th century

Revision History

  • 5 September 2013:
    • Updates for MS entries 0002, 0006, 0107, 0153, 0242, 0243, 0244, 0245.
  • 7 March 2013:
    • Updates for work entries "[Couplet about Birds]", "From Petrarch. Lib: I: Sonett: 170", "[Imitated] From Propertius. Lib: 2: Eleg: 1.", "Imitated from Propertius, Lib: 3: Eleg: 5:", "[Latin exercise from the Tatler]", [Orders of Insects], "[Translation] From Tasso [Gerusalemme Liberata] Canto 14, Stanza 32-9.", [Translations from the Greek Anthology], and MS 0045.
    • New MS entries (0289/0290) from the Folger Shakespeare Library.
  • 8 December 2011:
    • Updates for MS entries 0002, 0006, 0107, 0153, 0242, 0243, 0244, 0245.
  • 2 September 2010:
    • Updates for MS entries 0250, 0251, 0252, 0253, 0254, 0255.
  • 3 June 2010:
    • Updates for MS entries 0002, 0006, 0024, 0036, 0040, 0041, 0064, 0099, 0107, 0128, 0131, 0132, 0153, 0191, 0200, 0207, 0237, 0238, 0239, 0240, 0241.
    • New MS entries (0242-0245) from Special Collections, Bodleian Library, Oxford.
    • New MS entries (0246-0249) from the Folger Shakespeare Library.
    • New MS entries (0250-0255) from the British Library.
    • New MS entries (0256-0263) from the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
    • New MS entries (0264-0288) from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University.
  • 2 March 2009:
    • Improved links to internal and external information sources about dates and personal, geographic, family, and corporate names.
  • 4 March 2008:
    • Updates for MS entries 0021, 0037, 0047, 0065, 0106, 0121, 0125, 0143, 0192.
    • New MS entries (0237-0241) from the Brotherton Collection, Special Collections, Leeds University Library.
  • 1 June 2007:
    • New MS entries (0216-0236) from MS Add. 439 ("Gray's Poems"), The Archives, York Minster Library & Archives.
  • 5 March 2007:
    • Updates for MS entries 0009, 0021, 0037, 0047, 0049, 0058, 0065, 0102, 0106, 0111, 0121, 0125, 0143, 0150, 0154, 0161, 0192, 0198.
    • Two new entries (0214/0215) from MS 30/44 ("Copies of the poems of Thomas Gray"), Historic Collections, Special Libraries and Archives, King's College, University of Aberdeen.
  • 7 December 2006:
    • First version of this electronic finding aid published (poems collection only).